Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)
7,825 Ratings
Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)

Brewed by:
Bières de Chimay

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Originally brewed as a Christmas beer in 1948, this dark ale has rich flavors of mulling spices and caramel, with a smooth palate and warming finish.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-22-2001

Bros Score:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,825 |  Reviews: 2,379
Photo of drowninginhops
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in Chimay glass one (1) year after date printed on cork.
A: Hazy brown. with white head that is just perfect.
S: Yeasty with alcohol in the back
T: Indeterminante fruits with some hop
M: Flawless. creamy with perfect carvontion.
D: Almost too high not the type of beer that you would want to put back quickly but is so well made that it could be done easily. But at ~10% ABV you would not get thru too many.

 415 characters

Photo of chefelf
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had this one several times but never posted before. I love anything by Chimay. If you took a Heineken and crossed out the name and scribbled "Chimay" on the bottle with a Sharpie I'd probably enjoy it a lot more. Come to think of it, that may be a far cheaper way for me to get beers I enjoy.

I don't know if the blue label is my favorite of the Chimay line but it is very, very good.

 390 characters

Photo of MadCat
4.92/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

33cl bottle poured into my Chimay chalice.

Appearance: Hazy brown with a short white-ish brown head, leaves good lacing.

Smell: Sweet, fruity, plums, grapes, berries, bread

Taste: Sweet, tart, and a little bitter at the same time, with sweet winning out. Theres hints of plums, grapes, cranberries, and other berries. Some hints of port in there as well. A bit of earthiness to it too. The flavors improve at it warms a bit, getting more complex, with the flavors melding better.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with crisp carbonation, relatively smooth, getting smoother as it warms, likely due to losing a little carbonation.

Overall: This is one of my personal top 5 beers. If I were rich, I would drink this on a semi-regular basis. Its a sipper, but drinks real easy for the abv. Will revisit this next time I get a 75cl bottle (or even the magnum!)

 850 characters

Photo of AEK
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml brown bottle poured into a Chimay chalice.

A. Cloudy brown-red beer with an off-white, candy floss like head.

S. Some fruity notes, sugary sweetness and a trace of bananas lurking about too.

T. Cherry fruit like taste at the forefront. Dried fruit stones and a touch of honey.

M. Medium bodied.

D. Certainly NOT the beer it was a few years back when Brother Thomas was in charge of brewing, there's a lot of complexity lacking in there these days. For me, this can no longer be classed as a 'classic' Trappist beer.

 526 characters

Photo of BarleyStud
4.19/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted the 2010 Grand Reserve. The fun starts with the upside down and slow rotation to mix the yeast. This is followed by an explosive cork pop that wields a nice waft of carbon fog. A fruit filled scent precedes the pour.

A wine snob would call it complex with a long on the palate finish. A little too strong on the alcohol, but it had a good caramel flavor. A very nice, long laster with a mouthful of taste. It will definitely age well in the cellar. Loved it.

 467 characters

Photo of socon67
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an Ommegang snifter
A - Pours caramel brown with a very inviting cream colored foam. There is slight carbonation present.

S - Smells of bread, dark fruit, and a rum liquer. Almost reminds me of a rum cake around the holidays.

T - Tastes sweet with flavors of plum, raisins, and dark cherries. Goes into a booziness of a spiced rum, and then finishes crisp with the tawny bite of a port wine. Just an excellent blend of complex flavors.

M - Probably its best quality, this ale is insanely smooth and a wonderful texture that can go with a nice meal, as a cocktail drink, or an after dinner appertif.

O - Yeah, this is really good. Since it is generally easy to get in the states, it is a must buy for those looking for a high end belgian ale.

 758 characters

Photo of Intrinsic
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Maybe I just got lucky, but the head on this ale could not look any more perfect. Its incredibly dense and has better retention than I've ever seen. Grande Réserve is a dark caramel colour and lets very little light through the goblet its in.

The smell is remarkable, with notes of spice, bread and hops all intertwined in a complex dance that excites the senses. The taste takes it one step further, with a very earthy, heavy malt that completely lacks sweetness. The bitterness is almost overwhelming but stops just short of that, creating a unique blend of flavours that seems close to perfect. Bread, earth, spice and hops all play a part.

As the dense head would suggest, this beer is very creamy, very heavy, and, to my delight, very dry. Its so heavy I think I'll only need one of these for now, but I will definitely drink another when I see it. Grande Réserve is a wonderful beer.

 893 characters

Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice, dark brown color with a brown head in a duvel tulip glass. Smell is fruits and spices (cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon). The nice yeasty bready notes are inviting and the flavor gives you a helping of creaminess and deliciousness. This is among the best ales (if not THE best) and definitely one of the best beers I've ever enjoyed.

It also must be noted that for a 9% ABV drink, the content is misleading as the alcohol is perfectly hidden and the drinkability is superb!

Definitely an ale that will remain in my home on a permanent basis.

 541 characters

Photo of alkemy
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Out of an 11.2 ouncer...

A - Pours a murky, slightly rusty brown. A couple fingers of thick and creamy tan head sit above.

S - Although not real powerful, the smell is spectacular. Dark fruits are most notable for me. Plums, figs, and tart cherries. Then a doughy cinnamon shows up. That Belgian yeast is surely there, but again, a bit subtle. There's also a hint of clove and just enough alcohol that you have to hunt for it.

T - Follows the aroma quite a bit. Nothing overpowering. Everything just works together...sum of the parts thing. The dark fruits are there at the beginning and never really disappear. The balance between the spiciness and sweetness is perfect. I did notice a woody apple note that never appeared in the nose. Taste is impressive.

M - Starts creamy, but does have a little bite toward the end. Actually makes it feel refreshing...pretty good for 9%.

D - In a word. Unreal.

My first 5.0!

 921 characters

Photo of raszputini
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An exceptional ale. This is my favorite of the Chimays, so I made it my birthday brew this year. Pours dark brown with a creamy fizzy head. Smells of dark fruits and belgian yeast with a hint of alcohol due to the ABV. Moderate and tingly mouth feel. Taste is complex, with dark fruits, candy, chocolate, belgian sugars, phenols, and very sweet and mild hop character. This one is too easy to drink for the ABV - be careful.

 424 characters

Photo of russwbeck
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Brown pour with a dense head, off white in color. Very nice retention and lacing.

S: Smell is really heavy. Dark fruits, plums and raisons among others, mix with a maltiness that make it pretty distinct.

T: Extremely well balanced. The dark fruits and the malts blend nicely with the alcohol, which is more present as it warms. Very sweet, but not in a way that you can't drink it.

MF: The carbonation is very nice, medium bodied and only hints of alcohol.

D: Really good. I can't wait to try one with some age on it.

 524 characters

Photo of jayhawk73
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown w/ a two finger caramel head. The smell is that of fruit, clove, malt, and alcohol, w/ a little rum mixed in. The taste is fantastic- rum soaked fruit, w/ an earthy-ness, alcohol, and malt. Mouthfeel is nice- very creamy, smooth, w/ an alcohol burn for the aftertaste. I don't mind the alcohol at all, in fact, I think it adds to the overall taste of this beer. Drinkability is great. 9% ABV isn't overwhelming, and this beer goes down pretty easily. Not my favorite Belgian, but the first 'world-class' Belgian that I had. I've had this beer quite a lot, and it's a go-to beer that's gotten many of my friends into Belgian beer. World class all the way...

 675 characters

Photo of amanofbeer
4.88/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter, been waiting to try this one for ages now. Very exciting. I set the bottle down after opening to do something, then looked back and it was spurting. I guess that's what happens with nearly a year of bottle conditioning.

The smell is distinct, mellow, and raisony (a descriptive term that merits much use in this review). The smell suggest a very delicate and balanced citrus to the caramelly darkness. I wouldn't call it dark judging by the smell. Minor burnt characteristics

Amazingly delicate for such a variety of flavor. It is perfectly dry, crisp, and even, all the way to the finish. I wish I had some stilton cheese...oh baby...The raison comes through strong.

Mouthfeel is spritely, crisp and clean, and for such a dark beer, that is an amazing feat.

If I had a million dollars, I would drink 2-4 bottles with every meal.

 857 characters

Photo of KajII
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

[Best served in a Trappist glass]

Poured a rich medium to dark brown with a small off-white foamy head that was fully diminishing and had fair lacing. The aroma was of roasted malts, a mild flowery hops and a light scent of a sweet yeast with notes of dried fruit. It tasted slightly bitter-sweet in the beginning with a hint of raisons and finished moderately sweet and malty and had a slight alcohol tinge at the end with the flavor only lasting a short time. Mouthfeel was medium in body and very creamy yet oily in texture. Overall a fantastic/outstanding brew with one hell of a kick. One of my favorites, but don’t drink too many!!!

 641 characters

Photo of bled
3.2/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A-Like a cloudy mid to dark brown. Medium head that does not last long.

S-Sweet and malty. I can catch a hint of the alcohol in there.

T-A lot of malt in there with some sweetness. The alcohol tends to linger with each sip as well.

M-Carbonation level is on the high side but I do not mind that. Otherwise fairly balanced.

D-There is a bitter aftertaste that tends to linger and they did not do the greatest job hiding the alcohol content. I would say the drinkability here is below average.

Comments- Not really a strong dark ale kind of guy, but I have had others that I liked better. I would probably drink one of these again if given to me but I would not look to buy one. I think Chimay has done better with their Red and White offerings.

 748 characters

Photo of jodyanthony
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice, about half an inch of head that vanished pretty quickly, leaving pretty much no lacing. Was trying it for the first time, after hearing such good things. Did not quite like it on the first taste, but after about the 3rd sip I got it. Nice fruity taste, plums and currants. Yeasty and good. A bit sweet, almost brandy-like. Smells as good as it tastes. A hint of clove to the smell. Good, but I am thinking it would be great with some more age on it. Will definitely keep my other bottles cellared for a while. Looking forward to trying it again in six months to a year.

 592 characters

Photo of OldRaysputin
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a muddy brown with a subtle head. Carbonation throughout...see how this feels on the palate.

S: Sweet and Fruits galore! Not too heavy on alcohol scent..

T: Wow. kind of like eating at a five star restaurant. I dont know if that makes sense. Definitely taste the alcohol here but not overwhelming. Continue to get dark fruits...Raisins in there for sure.

M: Just right. Carbonation looks harsher than it is.

D: Very Drinkable! Respect this brew. Lots of appreciation to the monks that did this one. (Especially nice to drink out of the Chimay goblet!).

 566 characters

Photo of techfed87
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a strong head. Color is a moderate-cloudy brown.

Smell is of sour grapes along with other types of belgian characteristics.

First sip is a bit more sour than I expected it to be. Mouthfeel is quite effervescent and floral.

As my first trappist ale, I can definitely say that I've set my standards high for myself.

 325 characters

Photo of cpmichael
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Stone snifter, bottle says L10-075

A: Pours a dark, almost muddy brown, with a medium level of head.

S: Beer smells pretty "hot" right off the bat, some dark fruits, raisins and plums, with yeast and a touch of malts.

T: Flavor is dominated by sweet malts and alcohol, raisins come through in the middle, but it's hard to pick out between the abundance of alcohol and the malts.

M/D: This beer does not seem to be well balanced at all, the flavor profile was dominated by two things, pick up subtleties was nearly impossible for me. There did not seem to be any complexities with this beer. And the alcohol was way to present throughout the tasting. Hopefully a bottle with some age would do this beer some good.

 730 characters

Photo of darkbegbie
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 1/10. Poured into snifter.

Poured very dark amber with a tannish head.
Great smell. Oats, malts, slightly sweet from the fruits, and a hint of the alcohol.
Can taste dark fruits, and some roasted malts.
Medium mouthfeel.
High drinkability. Slightly sweet but not overpowering. Dry afterward.

 299 characters

Photo of Goatshaver
3.99/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Poured a dark mahogany with a nice two finger head that quickly diminished into a thin layer.

Smell: Smells of some malts with plum, dark fruits and some molasses.

Taste: A nice smooth malt with the dark fruity and plum taste.

Mouthfeel: Nice carbonation in the mouth with a bit a dryness at the end.

Drinkability: This is very easy to drink and the great carbonation makes it feel nice and light despite its dark color.

Serving type: 750ml bottle poured into snifter

 486 characters

Photo of THECPJ
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes 3/2/11:

appearance: murky brown, with slight orangish hue, 2 finger tan head.

smell: dark fruits, sour, acidic,

taste: dark fruits, malts, brown sugar,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, thick mouthfeel, well balanced

drinkability: interesting flavor profile. I could only drink this one once in a while definitely not an everyday brew.



 373 characters

Photo of DovaliHops
4.37/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 05/10. Pours a dark, murky, reddish brown with a large tan head. The scent on this beer is wonderful! Plenty of dark fruit, molasses, spice, bread, chocolate, and some alcohol. Taste is exactly how it smells. Initially, I get Belgian yeast flavors with delightful spices and dark fruits. Then I get some bread notes with sweet molasses and a hint of dark chocolate. Finishes with more dark fruit. Alcohol is well hidden in this extremely complex beer. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy with a nice dry finish. Drinkability is high. This is an amazing beer that I love being able to have easy access to.

 605 characters

Photo of NickRivers
4.56/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A&S - Deep brown with a 2 finger head, with a rich malt aroma.

T&M - Syrup-like mouthfeel with bready, spice flavors and some deep chocolate notes, and a biter finish.

D - Not as good as its counterpart but exceptional considering its style

I must say I liked the Red one better, it was lighter and has less roast to it. This has tons of roasty syrupy malts which add a heavier body and take away from the drinkability. That being said this is still an amazing brew. From the minute you take a sip till it hits your stomach it tastes phenomenal. This may replace my Winter Warmer favorites. I really can't wait to get my hands on some Chimay White Tripel. Support your Monks and go buy this now!!! You won't be sorry, some great tastes and great conversation. Stay thirsty my friends!!!

 789 characters

Photo of jsprain1
3.63/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a chocolate brown, slightly hazy. Head disappates down to a one finger head that holds there. Very little lacing.
S- A good bit of dark fruit. An underlying spicyness exists but I was somewhat left wanting on that. Slight bit of sweetness and yeast characteristics exist as well.
T- Sweet fruityness, some figs in there. The finish is sweet with a definite yeasty characteristic to it. There is something like a rum flavor in the beer as well.
M- Carbonation is a bit high for my tastes. Body is standard for size. You can notice a bit of sweet slickness until the carbonation wipes it away. You can sense the alcohol but it doesnt quite feel like 9%.
D- I like the beer, but I set my glass down I can't help but feel that it's overrated. Neither my favorite beer from Chimay or my favorite BSDA.

 805 characters

Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
Beer rating: 4.3 out of 5 with 7,825 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.